He explained Bitcoin to Barack Obama and ran one of the first election campaigns emphasizing crypto. He says Congress needs more people who understand science and technology.
If you’re not familiar with Brian Forde, now CEO at political fundraising platform Numero, he’s the guy who first explained bitcoin to President Barack Obama back in 2014.
“I was working at the White House [as senior advisor for mobile and data innovation] and was asked to write the White House memo on Bitcoin,” Forde explained. “We needed to explain it in a science, technology and business way to understand what the real impact is here. When people hear about cryptocurrency, they immediately go to ‘stranger danger.’”
This was particularly true back in crypto’s earlier days, when the main associations with the nascent financial technology were illegal drug sales on the Silk Road and massive hacks like the one of the early bitcoin exchange Mt. Gox. The science-minded Forde had to acknowledge these realities while helping President Obama come to grips with the “opportunities” associated with trustless, digital currencies.
After Forde’s briefing, Obama saw Bitcoin “in a different light,” Forde says. “He’s a science and technology president, so he can more quickly grasp that than other world leaders.”
Forde went on to advise many other world leaders on cryptocurrency as the director of Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Digital Currency Initiative, getting in at the ground level there in 2015. From MIT, he ran for Congress in California’s 45th District in 2018 on a tech-focused platform, raising about $300,000 of his campaign funds in cryptocurrency.